By THE NATION
The Energy Ministry will ensure adequate electricity supply while many people are advised to work from home by the government in an attempt to promote social distance and prevent the spread of Covid-19, Energy Minister Sonthirat Sonthijirawong said on Saturday (March 28).
“I have ordered all related agencies, especially the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, to monitor power usage closely and evaluate the situation on a daily basis as people tend to use more electricity during summer (March-April),” he said. “There should be enough power for everyone despite the government’s recommendation to work from home as we have increased generating capacity by over 30 per cent from power plants nationwide.”
Sonthirat added that although power consumption will rise among residential users, electricity usage among entrepreneurs will decrease as many business venues have been ordered to shut down until April 30, such as department stores, restaurants, schools, universities and entertainment venues. “Plus, companies that let their employees work from home will save on power bill too,” he added.
As for national oil consumption during the Covid-19 shutdown, Sonthirat said that in the first three weeks of March, oil consumption in Thailand had gone down by 8 per cent compared to February. “The trend should continue to go down as the government has postponed the Songkran holidays, which usually cause oil consumption to spike in April,” he added. “We estimate that oil consumption in 2020 could shrink by 20 per cent.”
Meanwhile, Khomkrit Tantrawanich, secretary-general and spokesman of Energy Regulatory Commission, has said that the Ministry of Energy will still prepare for increased power usage in the coming months by postponing maintenance schedule of power plants to make sure that all can run at full capacity when necessary.
“Furthermore, we have ordered PTT Plc to reach out to LNG providers in Myanmar to postpone the scheduled maintenance of their facilities to ensure uninterrupted distribution of LNG, which is one of the main fuels for power generation,” he added.